Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so. Not only that, but if you participate in one year, you still get to nominate the next year. This year, thanks to a rule change, we nominated up to 5 entries, and the final ballot included the top 6.
I'd love to see a Hugo for games, and usually include at least on on my ballot, but much like "YA novels are already eligible as Novels," this is the category where video games are technically already eligible. Of course, in practical terms, it's almost all movies, with the occasional full season of a TV show. Here are this year's entries with my thoughts:
Arrival - It's so rare to get this kind of thoughtful scifi. Even rarer for it to have a female lead who isn't sexualized (in case you were going to be all "but Ex Machina"). I'm really glad I got to see this in the theater, and have that experience of various parts of the group figuring out the thing at different parts. Of the movies on this list, this one has probably lead to the most interesting conversations as well.
Deadpool - It was fun to see in the theater, but not something that really stuck with me. Also, really hammered home the gender bias in superhero movies. Remember, kids, a female lead superhero movie flops, and we don't get another for over a decade. A male lead superhero movie flops, and the lead gets another gig as a superhero!
Ghostbusters - I think the most impressive part of this movie is that my spouse actually suggested watching it again when it came out on video. That's staying power. Very funny, quite entertaining. My only complaint when watching it was that the final battle seemed too long and the length only served to over use special effects, rather than support narrative or character. Which basically means it was a movie, right? I would totally watch a sequel.
Hidden Figures - I really wish the book had gotten a nod in Best Related Work. The movie dramatizes these events, but includes one unfortunate fictional part: the totally made up white savior moment. Is voting for the movie celebrating the accomplishments of black women or praising the director's bad decision?
Rogue One - The background of one of my work laptops is still a celebration of this movie. I loved it. I'm annoyed that my favorite line from the trailer wasn't in the film, and there are definitely some issues with the plot (and with that bs at the beginning where her mom pointlessly kills herself - hard time considering that a spoiler when it happens in the first few minutes), but my reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
Stranger Things, Season One - I . . . never actually finished season 1. I think we got through 6 episodes? It's just not quite the right bit of nostalgia for me. It seemed well put together, and all, but not my thing.
In summary, Arrival will be at the top of my ballot and Stranger Things at the bottom. I'm not sure about the list in between those two.